Tech Talk: Steve Thomaschefsky from Waupaca School District

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00:06 (Amy Bennett from Lightspeed Systems)
Today I’m talking with Steve Thomaschefsky from Waupaca, Wisconsin. How’s everything
going Steve?
00:12 (Steve Thomaschefsky)
Well the weather’s pretty nice today, it’s actually in the 60s, which for us in Wisconsin, is is a rare commodity at this time of year, so we’ll take it.
Yeah you take what you can get these days! You are the
Director of Technology there at the school district. How has the shift to remote learning been going for you guys?
You know, it’s been an interesting journey. I was brought in a couple years ago. This is my second year and and they had done a nice job. And before me, they started setting up the one-to-one program.
And when I got here, I kind of looked at that and it was one of the draws because they already had some things in place, and we were moving it down. So this year we moved it, so the kids were 1:1 in 2-12th grade.
Oh, nice!
And when we did that shift, was when we moved from Lightspeed Rocket to Relay (Lightspeed Filter) because I was like: “Wow you know
I really like the Lightspeed product because of what I could do inside of it.”
And it was a shift, but then we could we could customize things for all those levels. And so we had been playing with that all year as far as having like a during school session and after school session. And a lot of these things we had put in place, so we had really really hammered through that and everybody was pretty used to it when all this went down, you know, early March for us.
We were on spring break and it was all the directors were here and we were in meetings for three days straight trying to figure out, “what are we gonna do?”
And I think one of the best things we did right away was we said, “Nothing new.”
We made that decision from technology and curriculum that said they shouldn’t really look a lot different than what you’re currently doing, and we made
some really smart choices earlier this year. as far as with Relay (Lightspeed Filter).
Has this shifted other summer project plans for teacher training in particular? I would think.
yeah we hold like a technology camp that we do every year. And we basically said:
“Ok, this year it’s gonna be training.” There’s just nothing else. We’re gonna need that time just to train.
I just, I don’t think it goes back 100% to the way it was.
Yeah, I would agree with that. Some for better, some for worse. It’s just a new normal that we’re gonna be facing, right?
Technology-wise, like I couldn’t be happier. I don’t know if everybody feels that way. I was able to direct from home
which was also amazing. To have all these tools, we really didn’t miss a beat.
I think that with
something like the Relay (Lightspeed Filter) filter, I’m hearing both sides.
Number one: It’s really important that wherever the device is going – if it used to stay in school and now it’s home or back and forth in the fall – that it works seamlessly from anywhere.
But then also for IT staff, the ability to manage it from anywhere, you’re not dealing with racks and appliances that need maintenance and things like that.
Yeah, that’s what I thought of when when I found out that Rocket came with Relay (Lightspeed Filter).
Actually that’s when I made that switch. I don’t have to manage this appliance, we keep it as a backup in case we have to, but if something would ever happen where they have to be outside of school for an extended period of time, we can do this from wherever and we can login. We can change rules so yeah, I couldn’t be happier that we made that decision and  moved in that direction.
I said that was just one in
the series of a lot of things that
seemed to have fallen in place for us
where it just we didn’t have to worry
about that because that was one of the
first questions I got is how are you
gonna filter these things at home and
I’m like we already we put relay on
they’ve been out all year classroom
would have been the other big one that I
wish I would have across the district
because when teachers they want to see
the students screen if they’re not in
that that google meet or zoom with them
that they could do that you know it
would have been another way to to be
able to communicate well just so you
know to the relay filter has the parent
reports that you can set up to go out
weekly but our development team is
working on a parent portal where in
addition to the information parents
could turn Internet access off when
devices are home to help with some of
this balance between schools and what
they’re doing and parents and how much
they have to manage
so that is in the works that would be
well thank you and your staff and your
team for everything you’re doing to keep
kids safe and learning and keep
education going we appreciate it if
there’s anything we can do for you let
us know we’re here to help just keep
telling all the cool stories that are
happening out there I mean we’re not the
only district that’s doing amazing
things and I think people just need to
know that that this is still okay yeah
and school is still going on yeah okay
I appreciate your story thank you so
much and have a good afternoon
you also thank you nice talking to you

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